3 Tricks for your Leftover Candy Horde
I’ll admit it, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I don’t have anything against the holiday, per se, except for:
The insanely elaborate costumes four children create in their imaginations that thousands of dollars, three weeks of scourging the internet for accessories, and a professional seamstress couldn’t put together—only to be changed at 5:00pm Halloween night.
Other than that? It’s fine.
But seriously, between:
- trying to create costumes
- carry on a normal school day (why is Halloween never on a weekend?)
- carve pumpkins
- feed everyone
- pass out candy (are we going to have 20 Trick-or-Treaters this year or 120?)
along with the pressure of trying to “create the magic” for children that we mothers heap upon ourselves, the last thing on my mind is the insane amounts of candy 4 children can bring into a house in one night.
Then it’s suddenly there in front of me, and I become Captain Hook trying to seize their mound of treasured gold.
To make matters worse, my children are born negotiators. All they have to do is see me eyeing their horde and they lay out their terms:
- What they’re willing to sacrifice (Tootsie Rolls, Atomic Fireballs)
- How much they’re going to ingest right then and there (not including the 12 empty wrappers that came tumbling out of their bag)
- When the candy will be distributed (by themselves of course, because I can trust them!)
- At which times during the day (the candy I sneak before breakfast and what I eat during school doesn’t count, right?)
Please, let my 18-years of Halloween Candy Horror experience guide you. I’ve tried a few strategies over the years. Here are some ideas on how to handle that post-Halloween Candy Craze!
Option #1: The Candy Hangover
This one is called the Candy Hangover for very self-explanatory reasons. While I firmly believe this is a very legitimate strategy, it is not for the faint-of-heart. It’s more for the parent with a slightly sadistic sense of humor at their children’s expense. Even better if at least one of the adults in the household has the patience of Job to nurture the nauseous child at 2:00am.
The Candy Hangover allows total and complete indulgence on Halloween night. Your little monsters can eat everything they can stomach—literally. This is done with the understanding that the next day—November 1—the remaining candy gets donated.
Need an idea for a GREAT person to donate all that leftover candy to? A TEACHER!
I know this might seem a little counter-intuitive because you’re giving it right back to your kid through their teacher, but…
- The candy is much more evenly distributed, and
- You have no idea the power candy incentives have to control children’s (mis)behavior during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Truly, please, please consider donating to such a worthy cause—your local teacher’s sanity.
Option #2: The Caped Crusader
Bundle up the leftover candy into multiple goodie bags*. Have your children dress up in their costumes for trick-or-treating…in reverse. This time, instead of asking for candy, they can hand it out to any local homeless.
If you have the financial means, this is a great time to hand out “blessing bags” as well. “Blessing bags” can contain:
- Hand sanitizer
- Restaurant/grocery store gift cards
- Pre-moistened face cloths
I especially love this one for little kids, who get the chance to dress up in their costumes again, but really, it’s awesome for teenagers too, who need that selfless, altruistic reminder that the world is bigger than themselves—like we all do!
By the way, don’t feel limited by the date on the calendar! If your kids feel like breaking out their Halloween costumes to deliver candy on March 24, rock it! I know seeing my kids dressed up and handing out candy would bring a smile to my face. I’m willing to bet it would bring a little happiness to others as well.
Option #3: The Candy Economy
The Candy Economy is inspired by my experience as a teacher, and the aforementioned “Positive Behavior Motivation Strategy” (ahem, bribery), as well as the “Token Economy” created by my favorite parenting guru, Dr. James Jones, author of “Let’s Fix the Kids”. Seriously, Best. Parenting. Program. Ever. But, we’ll get to that another time.
The Candy Economy is exactly what it sounds like: an exchange of “goods”—candy, in exchange for a “service”—good behavior.
It seems like these days, at 12:01am November 1, the clock starts on the Christmas Countdown. It’s only natural for kids to get excited by thoughts of Christmas—I still get excited about Christmas—so how to contain that excitement within a manageable range for approximately 55 days can be a bit of a challenge.
Insert Candy Economy. Sit down with your kids to establish what the Economy will look like in your home, because buy-in is key here. Decide what behaviors you want to encourage over the coming weeks, and what the rewards will be.
For all you OCD Candy sorters out there (looking in the mirror, here), you can even divide up types of candy for certain actions.
- Making your bed all week ~ Smarties, Jolly Ranchers
- Doing someone else’s chore for them ~ fun-sized Milky Way, Twix
- Not making your “Christmas Wish List” seem like a “Parent’s Shopping List” ~ entire case of Butterfingers
But those are just my ideas, throwing ‘em out there, maybe you can’t relate…
The point is, it’s whatever works best for your family, depending on your kids ages and what behaviors you want to encourage, and which you want to quash.
One Final Note…
REMEMBER: It’s all about balance: Halloween is just one night a year. If you’re helping your kids practice good eating habits all year, don’t stress one night!
*Download these FREE Halloween Gift Tags when you subscribe to my weekly newsletter below! Attach them to your goodie bags, or use them for whatever Halloween celebration you have!